Mar 31, 2014, 9:15 AM EDT
Aaron Gordon, in some years, would be a top-three draft pick.
Not 2014, though.
In this loaded draft, Gordon hasn’t even broken into the consensus top six occupied by Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, Dante Exum and Marcus Smart. Instead, Gordon is hanging in the next tier with with Noah Vonleh, trying to hold off charges from players like Gary Harris and Tyler Ennis.
But that hasn’t scared scared off the Arizona freshman forward. Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:
Barring a stunning change of mind, freshman Aaron Gordon has likely played his last game at Arizona and is headed to the NBA, sources said.—
Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) March 30, 2014
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Gordon is athletic enough to overcome being a bit small – 6-foot-9 and 225 pounds – for an NBA power forward. He can jump out of the gym, and his high effort level makes him an excellent defender.
He must polish his offensive game, though. Making 16-of-45 3-pointers (36 percent) gives some hope of unreached potential, but his 76-of-180 free-throw shooting (42 percent) gives a much larger indication of how rough around the edges he is.
Overall, Gordon averaged 12.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 blocks and 0.9 steals.
That low steal rate could be concerning – Kevin Pelton of ESPN advocates the importance of steals for indicating athleticism – but Gordon trended in the right direction during the season. In his first nine games, Gordon got steals in only one of them (three against San Diego State). In his final nine games, he had 15 steals.
Gordon is headed toward being a top-10 pick. I don’t see any reason to expect “a stunning change of mind.”
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